The 2012 Syrah Papa’s Block (100% Syrah) is a 400-case cuvee that achieved 14.5% natural alcohol. Thirty percent whole clusters were used, and about 20% new French oak. The wine exhibits lots of blackberry fruit, charcoal and spring flower characteristics in a full-bodied, opulent, irresistible, richly fruity, plush style. Consume it over the next 6-10 years. Carlisle Winery’s Mike Officer and his wife are one of the wonderful stories in the wine world. Going from a part-time home winemaker, to turning out some of his beloved Zinfandels, to becoming one of the two or three leading guardians of old vine Zinfandel in Northern California, Mike Officer was so good at making wine that he changed careers and wine consumers are the beneficiaries. The single vineyard Zins are absolutely remarkable. Everyone who loves Zinfandel should be on Carlisle’s mailing list, the wines are primarily available only from the winery. Sadly, Mike Officer is not making as much Syrah as he used to given the difficult marketplace for this varietal. That’s a shame, as great Syrahs are truly magnificent wines. (RP)
The 2012 Syrah Papa's Block is compelling. A rich, sweeping, dramatic wine, the 2012 flows across the palate with stunning depth, power and intensity. Black cherry, plum, licorice, smoke and a host of dark flavors saturate the palate on the finish. A rich, voluptuous wine, the 2012 is shaping up to be special. The 2012 is 100% Syrah fermented with 30% whole clusters. I tasted a stunning range of wines during my recent visit to Carlisle. Proprietor Mike Officer and his winemaker/viticulturist Jay Maddox have recently moved into a new, barn-like winery in Windsor stacked to the ceiling with barrels. Carlisle specializes in old-vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrahs, most of which come from old-vine, heritage sites planted by Italian immigrants going back to the late 1800s. As great as the Carlisle wines are, Officer's dedication to protecting California's heritage vineyards, a passion he shares with Morgan Peterson of Bedrock, Tegan Passalacqua of Turley and a handful of other growers, may prove to be an even longer lasting legacy. The 2011s have largely turned out as good or better than I expected. Mike Officer believes the 2011s will age well, as the acids are much higher than normal. In my view, a number of the wines, especially those with medium-bodied structures should be drunk over the next handful of years. The 2012s are much more open and radiant in keeping with the style of the year. Best of all, though, these wines deliver superb quality at exceedingly fair prices.
Inky purple. Lively, mineral-laced dark berry and cherry scents are complicated by notes of cola, Indian spices and violet. Smoky and precise on the palate, offering intense blackcurrant and cherry liqueur flavors that are given depth by a touch of candied licorice. Closes spicy and precise, with silky tannins and a bright mineral quality that adds bite.
While firm and potent, this shows a seam of suppleness midpalate on, carrying the dark berry, mocha, cigar box and wild berry flavors. Reveals great length and harmony on the finish. Drink now through 2025.
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